Fuel Cells

Fuel cells are energy conversion devices transforming the combustion enthalpy of a fuel directly in electricity (like batteries), simultaneously generating useful heat, with overall co-generation efficiency attaining 90%. Not subjected to the Carnot-limit, their key benefit is the high fraction of obtained electricity (50-60% of the fuel energy) for small scale power application (sub-kWe to a few MWe) and a large power modulation range (20…100% load), the electrical efficiency remaining especially high at partial load.

Conversion in fuel cells is associated with low levels of noise and chemical pollution (NOx, SOx, CO, VOC) compared to technologies involving direct combustion (engines, turbines). Fuel cell systems are typically modular in concept.

These characteristics, plus a versatile architecture (materials choice, component geometries/sizes and operating temperatures), lead to a wide range of applications from portable power (few W to few 100 W), small cogeneration (few kW), transport (10-50 kW in cars, 200 kW in buses, MW’s in ships), back-up power and remote power (10s kW to 100s kW), to stationary cogeneration units (MW’s).

We mainly concentrate on Solid Oxide Fuel Cells, operated at 600-800°C, involving ceramics and refractory alloys.

Air Fuel